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3rd year student wins University's business plan prize


A luxury lingerie company inspiring body confidence in young, larger-breasted women was this year's Pre-Trading winner of the 2018 University of Leeds Business Plan Competition.

Organised by Spark, the University’s business start-up service, the competition is open to both students and graduates and awards prizes in two categories: Pre-Trading and Trading up to 24 months. This year’s competition winners shared a total prize fund of £8,500, with a £2,000 first prize in each category, second prize of £1,250 and third prize of £750.

First prize in the Pre-Trading category was won by 3rd year Management student, Harriett Howe (21), who hopes to launch her business, Lunebelle, in the summer. Lunebelle will produce luxury large-cup lingerie ranging from D-G cup, but it will also educate young women on breast health and bra fitting as well as giving them a comfortable and positive environment to transform their body confidence.

Harriet is an Enterprise scholar and won a place in the competitive Year in Enterprise programme. She’s currently working with a specialist bra maker who works for top brands and who will transform Harriet’s designs into beautiful products for the 15-25yr old market.

“Spark is the most incredible resource for student entrepreneurs,“ she says. “The Spark team and the network of professional advisers are helping me turn my dream into a reality. Winning this award is brilliant because it shows their belief in my business - and in me - and this gives me the confidence I need, because I know they’re with me all the way.”

Nick Howard of film agency Limehouse – one of the University’s first Business Plan Competition winners in 2008 – joined this year’s judging panel. He said: “Judging was a brilliant experience, although it was tougher than I thought it would be, because all the students were really informed, their drive and ambition was clear and their business plans were incredibly well thought through.”

Kairen Skelley, Head of Spark Business Start-Up, said: “This is the tenth year of the Business Plan Competition and the overall quality of the entries is startling. Both category winners this year are entering markets dominated by big brands, but are confident and articulate in their own venture’s unique selling points and have the vision, determination and talent to succeed.”